The Carter Ridge – Wet, Cold and Lovely!

At the end of October, the Green Building Mountaineering Club got going again, heading up to the north country to take another jaunt in the woods.

We left at 5am and raced up I-93 through Franconia Notch, up over the Presidentials along Rt. 2 to Gorham and down 16 toward Pinkham Notch.

The destination was the three 4000’+ Carter peaks, North, Middle and DOME, so we could each add to our bagged-peak list. I’m now at 30 of the 48 in NH. Need to schedule a few more hikes!

The crew this time was split as two members could only make it for the day on Saturday. That was Ben Myers (mech. eng. & prop. development) and Peter Zink (prof. of materials science). The rest made it overnight and all the way down on Sunday. That would be Shawn Hesse (architect), Luka Multnovic (building engineer), Ethan Lay-Sleeper (urban planner) and Vince (architect), and myself (broker & promoter).

Here are a few pictures from the trip (I also put a bunch of photos on flickr so you could enjoy):


We found the very cool soil frost phenomena along the trail. Winter is coming!


PZ and G Lee having a laugh during lunch on the top of North Carter.


Great crew up there! Ethan in red cap, Vince, Peter, Luka, Grey, Ben in the shadow, and Shawn!


Although it looks quite like a dome, this is actually the ridge between North and Middle Carter. We would soon bid farewell to the day-hikers and get on toward Zeta Pass and the long hike up to the real Carter Dome. It was still a fine afternoon at this point, but at 3pm the sun is already quite low. And we had…quite a ways to go!


Fine day, and that is Washington’s peak behind me. Nice!


And there’s Madison, Adams and Jefferson. Just a few months ago I was shirtless looking out across the Great Gulf Wilderness (the stuff under Jefferson) – during our Prezzie Traverse. Nice to see the peaks from this near vista.


There were a lot of neat things growing in the rocks along the trail…


And such fine views! That would be Maine out there.



Soon, we would leave the ridge and get to the next pass. With the night coming on, we skipped Mt. Height (I’ve done it already) and proceeded along to the Dome.

Shawn says Yo!


Near the top of the straight shot from Zeta to the Dome, there is a little lookout. Wow. Nice to see the Prezzies from so high. It would be all downhill, finally, from here. I was pretty happy at this moment!


We descended as the cloud cover descended – into some really dicey stuff!











And made it to the pond at Carter Notch. Really sweet to be in here. I’ve actually only been here in deep cloud. Sort of scary. But a great tent site up above this point and we had a great camp dinner. Mac-n-cheese as I recall. A few flasks passed around. Very cold. We had a fire. It rained.

That was a great 11-mile day.


In the morning, still more clouds and mists. We went over to the Carter Notch Hut and made breakfast in their yard. Then we wandered into the Ramparts – these crazy chunks of rock from some certainly interesting geological story…like a playground really. Strange middle-earth trees coming up out of this old giants’ battlefield…



And then we got going again, up up and away onto Wildcat A – the fourth 4000 footer we’d ascend, and the highest of the ridge for Sunday.



Fine day for a stroll up and about.


It was a long slog going down Wildcat’s west side. It had been 45 minutes to jam up to A from the tent site, then about an hour along the ridge. And two hours to go the just-over-a-mile coming down.



But we found a rainbow in the mists:


And finally, off the mountain, we found SaALT Рthe best restaurant in Gorham, NH. It opened right at 5pm as we arrived and filled rapidly. Mmmm! Good. We devoured about $250 of beer and fabulously fatty food in an hour and a half. Damn Good.


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